At the 1952 London Motor Show, Donald Healey introduced his latest masterpiece, an economical 100 mph sports car, a pale-blue Healey-100. It was the only one in existence and the subject of on-going negotiations with an official at the British Motor Corporation who secured a deal that made the car into the first Austin-Healey 100.
Production of 200 cars a week began with worldwide distribution in mind and the US market the major sales target. With styling by Gerry Coker, the new line of roadsters received Austins powertrains, 4-cylidner engines initially, then during September 1956, the new BN4 100-Six was introduced along with the oval grille of the 100S racing model.
The new 6-cylidner engine design differed from previous BMC power plants in that its Weslake designed cylinder head required location of the cam to the opposite side of the block. The 3000 MK II was announced during May 1961 as a 3-carburetor model, subsequently scaled back to dual carbs. During March of 1964, the MK III 'Big Healey' was introduced with the BJ8 engine of 150 horsepower and a new rear suspension to improve ride quality.
Ninety percent of production was designated as export with most of the United States contingent sold in California. After more than 72,000 were built, some 70,000 sold in the United States, production ended in 1967 with the MK III 3000 displaying remarkably similar styling to the original 'Big Healey.' The last production MK III was completed in December 1967, destined to America.
Sold for $99,000 at 2012 RM Sothebys. The BJ8 was the final version of the Big Healey six-cylinder cars. It was introduced in 1963 and built during the last four years of production. With the help of two SU HD8 carburetors, the three-liter engine offered 150 horsepower.
This example is a late-production 1967 model that was found in Greenville, Wisconsin and purchased in 2008 by its current owner. The cars two prior owners helped preserve the car in proper storage. When purchased, the car had 32,000 miles. The car was treated to a restoration to concours standards. It was finished in Old English White and then wet-sanded and buffed to a stunning deep finish.
In 2012, this car was offered for sale at the Amelia Island auction presented by RM Auctions. The car was estimated to sell for $80,000 - $110,000 and offered without reserve. As bidding came to a close, the car had been sold for $99,000 inclusive of buyer's premium. By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2012
The Austin Healey 100, named for its expected top speed, was introduced at the 1952 London Motor Show. Smitten with the Healey's sleek styling, Austin chief Sir Leonard Lord struck a deal to add the new sports car to his company's production portfolio, with Donald Healey as technical director.
When production began in 1953, it was the Austin Healey 100. In 1956 it became the 100-6, with a 2.6-liter inline six, and a wheelbase stretched allowing 2+2 seating. In 1959 the 2.6-liter was enlarged to 2.9 and the 100-6 was renamed the 3000, which continued to the end of production. The Mark III was the last permutation. Healey and company looked at the possibility of carrying on with a 4000 model, but the business case didn't add up and in 1968 the Austin Healey was consigned to history.
Sold for $88,000 at 2007 RM Sothebys. High bid of $55,000 at 2017 Mecum. (did not sell) This 1967 Austin-Healey 3000 BJ8 MKIII Sports Convertible was titled in 1967 though it was built in late 1966. It is fitted with a 177.7 cubic-inch overhead valve six-cylinder engine which sends its 150 horsepower to a four-speed manual gearbox. There are Girling disc brakes in the front and drums in the rear. It is finished in light metallic green and is a matching number example with a BHIMT certificate. Since new, it has been treated to a complete frame-off restoration that included both aesthetics and mechanical components. The original engine, transmission and rear end were rebuilt and all the ancillary systems were overhauled.
It was brought to the 2007 Monterey Sports & Classic Car Auction presented by RM Auctions, where it was estimated to sell for $90,000 - $110,000. It was offered without reserve. The estimates proved nearly accurate as the lot was sold for a sum of $88,000 including buyer's premium. By Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2007
Sold for $159,500 at 2014 RM Sothebys. The Austin Healey 3000 Mark III (BJ8) was the only model in the entire range of Austin- Healey that featured a luxurious cockpit, composed of a center console and a dashboard of burled walnut. It also had the curved windscreen with wing windows and the roll-up side windows, which had been introduced shortly before on the series BJ7 model.
This example has been freshly restored and finished in Metallic Golden Beige color, applied to just 553 examples of the BJ8 and all on late-production cars. It has new English Leather Bone upholstery with matching English wool carpeting. By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2014
Sold for $93,500 at 2015 RM Sothebys. Production of the Austin-Healey 3000 Mark III Series BJ8 began in late 1963 and continued through December of 1967. This was the final iteration of the 'Big' Healey. Power was from a well-developed 2912 cubic-centimeter, six-cylinder engine with twin two-inch SU carburetors and 150 horsepower. Zero-to-sixty mph took just 9.8 seconds and top speed was achieved around 120 mph. It had a revised exhaust system, and a vacuum brake booster as standard equipment. After the initial 1,390 examples had been produced, a revised rear suspension system was introduced, offering an increase in ride height resulting in improved ground clearance.
This particular example has been given a professional restoration. It was purchased in January 2010 from only its second owner. It has a correct Ambla interior and walnut burl veneer dashboard, new glass, new 60-spoke chrome wire wheels with radial tires, and cadmium-plated hardware. The car is supplied with a fifth chrome spare wheel, top boot and bag, an owner's handbook, and a BMIHT Certificate. By Daniel Vaughan | Feb 2015
The Austin Healey 100 was introduced in October of 1952 at the Earls Court Motor Show. The first Austin Healey 100's were known as 100-4 or BN1. The name 100 came-about by being able to break the 100 mph barrier. The BN also had meaning. The B represented the engine class which meant it had between 2000 and 3000 cc. The N represented the body-style configuration, two-seat and open-top. The 100 was powered by a A90, 2660 cc, four-cylinder engine capable of producing 94 horsepower. The manual three-speed transmission was also borrowed from the A90. However, the first gear was blocked off and was fitted with overdrive on the second and third gears to provide extra power. The name 'Austin Healey' was formed by a partnership comprising of the designer, Donald Mitchell Healey, and the manufacturer, Austin.
During its total production cycle, 10,688 examples of the BN1 were produced.
In October of 1955, the BN2 was introduced. The BN2 was similar to the BN1 in design but now featured larger drum brakes and a new four-speed transmission with overdrive.
During its production run, 3,924 examples of the BN2 were produced.
The Austin Healey 100S was produced in limited numbers, only 55. Their primary purpose was for competing in racing and rally events as well as for development and marketing purposes. They were entered into races such as Sebring, Mille Miglia, and Le Mans. They were copies of special factory test car that Stirling Moss raced in the 1954 12-hour Sebring race where he placed third. The 100S's were produced at the Healey Warwick factory and most were decorated with the American racing colors, white and blue. Of the 55 that were built, only 10 remain unaccounted for. The 100S, when compared with the 100, featured Dunlop disc brakes on all four wheels, different cylinder head and internal engine modifications, four-speed gearbox without overdrive, and a light-alloy body shell.
The 100S was followed by the 100M. The 100M was a Le Mans variation of the BN2 with an increased horsepower rating of 100-110. It featured bigger carburetors and modified distributor. Valve springs and anti-roll bars were added to the suspension. During its production run, 1100 of the Le Mans BN2's were produced.
Over time, about 100 BN2 were later modified but in order to qualify for the Le Mans configuration the vehicles needed to meet specific standards. These standards included a 1.75 inch H6, SU carburetors, cold air box and air tube, Le Mans regulation strap and a factory style louvered hood.
The four cylinder engine was used from 1952 through 1956, after which a BMC six-cylinder engine was used. The car was dubbed the '100 Six'. Three years and a few engine modifications later, the car was named the '3000' and today is known as the 'Big Healey'. Over the production lifespan of the 3000, it could be assembled with multiple options such as a two-seater or 2+2, hard-tops, single or duo-tone paint schemes, overdrive, and more.
In 1962 the body was redesigned with a curved screen and wind up windows. The interior of the vehicle was revamped in 1964 and also received more ground clearance.
The 3000 was produced from 1959 through 1968. The original engine produced 124 horsepower and was capable of about 114 mph. Modifications to the engine throughout the years increased the horsepower to around 148 and the top speed to 121 mph. The size of the car, the power of the engine, and weighing in at around 2400 lbs made this car responsive, competitive and fun to drive.
In all, there were around 73,000 100's and 3000's produced with 58,000 featuring the six-cylinder engine. By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2006